Can visitors be 'forced' to wear PPE? - page 3

by Ashley, PICU RN

5,201 Views | 24 Comments

We recently had a patient with an influenza requiring droplet isolation. Visitors (the parents) flatly refused to wear a face mask in the room, despite frequent education. The parent did sanitize their hands before... Read More


  1. 2
    I can understand parents not wanting to wear PPE in the room with their child. Since they were exposed already, as long as they've been given the information, I think it's reasonable to allow them to make that decision in the room.

    HOWEVER, since they HAVE been exposed to what the patient has and continue to expose themselves, I also think it's completely reasonable to have them wear the PPE outside the room. If they need to run to the cafeteria or vending machine, pop that mask on. Is there a general family lounge on the floor? They're on the same precautions the patient is so no hanging out in the lounge space without a mask. Going to the public restroom? Mask. They can decide what risks they want to take on themselves, but they don't have the right to pollute the wider hospital environment.
    jalyc RN and wooh like this.
  2. 2
    Coming from the perspective of a TB case manager, please do not permit visitors refusing to wear PPE to visit an infectious TB patient in an AII room. #1: It sets a precedent; it will be very difficult for us to enforce isolation & protect the rest of the community when they are discharged if health care providers did not insist on it in the hospital.

    #2: While some household contacts may have been exposed/infected already, this is not always the case. It is not just their problem if they become infected; it is a public health threat. #3: If that visitor is immunocompromised in some way, you are setting him or her up for progressive TB with a poor prognosis. They may not realize the grave consequences, but, since you do, have some compassion & protect them from themselves.

    I would imagine my reasoning applies to many other communicable diseases as well.
    HazeKomp and jalyc RN like this.
  3. 2
    Sure they know they were exposed, but we require them to garb up so that they don't spread it around by contact. They come out of that room, go to the ice machine, go to the breast pumping room, go to the bathroom, go to the gift shop, then the cafeteria. And there you have all the points of contact and possibility of spreading whatever they are in contact with. Sure they wash their hands but Junior has coughed, spit, oozed and whatever else on Mommy, Daddy and Grandma.

    So, garb up or no visit.
    HazeKomp and jalyc RN like this.
  4. 0
    Quote from Ruby Vee
    ​Visiting is a privelege, not a right. If you don't abide by the rules, the privelege is revoked and if you refuse to leave, the nice men in the grey uniforms will help you find the exit.
    Wow! Where do you work? Where I work, people end up doing whatever the heck they want because of the feedback scores.
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    I tell visitors that they will not be let back in. I don't care if they have already been exposed or they say that they wash their hands. Droplets aren't limited to just the hands. People touch their face without knowing it. They tie their shoes, itch their arms, etc. Other pts are put at risk. I always hear the nurses are the biggest carriers of germs, but I think a huge chunk of that are visitors. Why aren't all visitors required to get flu shots to enter the hospital? I look up to you guys that work in peds. I could never put up with the parents. I am sure that most of them are great, but there are crazy, over-bearing, stubborn people who don't want to listen to anything. Their kid is in the hospital and no one is gonna tell them what to do. Every time my mother goes into the hospital, we have to wear MRSA precautions. We all hate it, but we do it. It drives me crazy when people don't follow the rules. I'm just a nurse...what do I know...
    jalyc RN likes this.


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